HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Native Corn

london123 Jul 5, 2014 08:12 AM

It's that time of year again. Any sightings of native corn?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Science Chick RE: london123 Jul 5, 2014 08:14 AM

    I usually don't see any *real* native corn until late July/early August...might start getting some from NJ soon though, if not already.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Science Chick
      Madrid RE: Science Chick Jul 5, 2014 08:29 AM

      yeah, unfortunately it's not that time of year again,yet, for native corn, and might be even later this year given the weather. Don't usually see tomatoes until early August, either. The ones that are at the markets now are hothouse. Nothing wrong with that! I saw some heirlooms today at Union square, Kimball Fruit, for $5 a pound. That's the usual price early in the season. Too expensive for me.

    2. Allstonian RE: london123 Jul 5, 2014 08:16 AM

      None at the Brookline farmers market on Thursday. Because of the cold weather this spring, field crops seem to be running late this year.

      1. mcel215 RE: london123 Jul 5, 2014 09:08 AM

        I bought corn at Caleresso's in Reading today and asked where they were getting it from. They told me it came from Ga.

        And agree with the others, it will be awhile. My parents always told me it's only "knee high by the fourth of July". So I never expect it to be local for another 3 or 4 weeks.


        1. Allstonian RE: london123 Jul 5, 2014 11:58 AM

          Much to my surprise, Stillman's FB page says that they had their first corn at today's markets.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Allstonian
            StriperGuy RE: Allstonian Jul 5, 2014 12:51 PM

            They're lying.

            1. re: Allstonian
              BostonZest RE: Allstonian Jul 5, 2014 01:29 PM

              By following the early corn suggestions from UMass's Agricultural Extension service,


              and choosing early varieties local farmers have been able to bring in local sweet corn in early July most years. I wrote a newspaper column on it a couple of years ago.


              1. re: BostonZest
                zackly RE: BostonZest Jul 5, 2014 02:27 PM

                So that's how they do it. Bless you, Monsanto!

                1. re: BostonZest
                  StriperGuy RE: BostonZest Jul 5, 2014 05:25 PM

                  I stand corrected... My apologies.

                  1. re: StriperGuy
                    BostonZest RE: StriperGuy Jul 5, 2014 07:05 PM

                    Hey no problem. That's why I started researching it. I was wondering how it was done.

                  2. re: BostonZest
                    FoodFactsdotus RE: BostonZest Jul 21, 2014 04:43 AM

                    Great Info! Thanks for the article. I bookmarked it just in case I need to refer to it later.

                  3. re: Allstonian
                    catsmeow RE: Allstonian Jul 6, 2014 05:43 PM

                    Got a few ears of corn from Stillmans at the West Roxbury market today. I just had an ear and it's not very good. Some of the kernels still had a faint greenish tint and it definitely tasted like it should have stayed on the stalk longer. The rows of kernels had wide spaces between them, and I think they would have filled in had the kernels had a chance to get bigger.

                    1. re: catsmeow
                      CportJ RE: catsmeow Jul 9, 2014 04:55 PM

                      Glad I passed when I saw they had it at City Hall on Monday. The ears all looked too skinny to me, but it was the end of the day and I just assumed all the good ones were gone.

                  4. z
                    zackly RE: london123 Jul 5, 2014 01:49 PM

                    "Knee high by the 4th of July…or so the old saying goes. The old “knee high” adage meant that if your corn reached the height of your knee by Independence Day, your crop was on track and you were expected to have a good year"
                    My local corn farm in CT usually starts selling mid-July

                    1. p
                      PhuKew2 RE: london123 Jul 5, 2014 02:00 PM

                      In West Falmouth on 28A the little roadside cart guy "Native Tom Corn" has some delicious corn (can't say that I know it is truly native, but the sign says it is...)

                      1. t
                        treb RE: london123 Jul 5, 2014 03:28 PM

                        Usually the first not too local stuff comes from Western MA, still probably several weeks away. I don't like it as much, when it is trucked in it gets heated up en route and the kernels become tough.

                        1. l
                          LilBrownBat RE: london123 Jul 5, 2014 06:04 PM

                          It's a bit early yet, but there are some farmers in WMa who grow a dwarf variety that tassels out very early. So, maybe soon.

                          1. s
                            smtucker RE: london123 Jul 6, 2014 08:08 AM

                            Way too early for local corn.

                            1. rlh RE: london123 Jul 6, 2014 05:43 PM

                              Verrill Farm was selling ears from Delaware today - OK and tasty, but not the same as fresh local by a long shot

                              1. j
                                jomo9501 RE: london123 Jul 7, 2014 08:55 AM

                                My wife just picked up a couple of ears from Gerry's farm in Brockton. He said he got it from a farm in Bridgewater. We will test tonight!

                                1. paulj RE: london123 Jul 7, 2014 09:05 AM

                                  'native corn'? - as in local or heirloom?

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: paulj
                                    Science Chick RE: paulj Jul 7, 2014 12:45 PM

                                    Native usually means grown locally and harvested in season.

                                    1. re: Science Chick
                                      paulj RE: Science Chick Jul 7, 2014 03:47 PM

                                      That must be a Boston usage. From 1906 Fannie Farmer cookbook:

                                      "Until native corn appears it is the most unsatisfactory vegetable. Native corn is obtainable the last of July, but is most abundant and cheapest in Auguest. Among the best varieties are Crosby for early corn and Evergreen for late corn."

                                      In 1906 the sweet corn varieties lost their sweetness quickly. Modern varieties are much sweeter, and have a longer window between harvest and consumption.

                                      Google images for 'native corn' are mostly multicolored field corn, also called 'Indian corn'.

                                      1. re: paulj
                                        Madrid RE: paulj Jul 7, 2014 04:02 PM

                                        I think that using the term "native" to mean "local" is in common parlance these days. And not just in Boston, though I could be wrong.

                                        Anyway, it was clear the OP meant "local" and all the respondents interpreted it that way.

                                        1. re: paulj
                                          smtucker RE: paulj Jul 7, 2014 04:12 PM

                                          The great misunderstanding between my Mother and her Mother In Law was native lettuce. This was the term my mother was raised to use. Her mother in law called it Boston lettuce. They never saw eye to eye on this, and so many other matters.

                                          Native is a long-standing Boston-ism.

                                          1. re: smtucker
                                            Science Chick RE: smtucker Jul 8, 2014 01:03 PM

                                            I grew up in CT in the 60s and that was our common term there as well.

                                          2. re: paulj
                                            zackly RE: paulj Jul 8, 2014 06:24 PM

                                            Every year the super sweet corn that appears locally beginning in May (in CT) that is shipped form Florida and later Georgia has gotten sweeter and more tender. There used to be a huge difference between this corn and local corn but the quality gap is narrowing. Now if they only could figure out how to ship decent tomatoes.....

                                            1. re: zackly
                                              cambridgedoctpr RE: zackly Jul 10, 2014 03:04 PM

                                              a big part of the problem with tomatoes is the variety; they are bred for appearance and not for taste.

                                            2. re: paulj
                                              paulj RE: paulj Jul 16, 2014 09:38 AM

                                              "The specific time when sweet corn originated cannot be pin-pointed; however, sweet corn was grown by the American Indian and first collected by European settlers in the 1770's. The first variety, Papoon, was acquired from the Iroquois Indians in 1779."

                                        2. c
                                          catsmeow RE: london123 Jul 9, 2014 10:25 AM

                                          I just got an email from Calareso's in Reading saying native corn has arrived. Hmmmmm....

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: catsmeow
                                            macca RE: catsmeow Jul 9, 2014 11:13 AM

                                            Yup- got the same email. I will try to stop by tomorrow and take a look.

                                            1. re: macca
                                              greygarious RE: macca Jul 12, 2014 05:20 PM

                                              I bought an ear there on Thurs when I was there for the Cape Ann Fresh Catch fish distribution. It was large and full, but the flavor was underripe, green. It's too early. I knew this but was hoping to be proven wrong. Glad I only got one ear.

                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                greygarious RE: greygarious Jul 17, 2014 06:45 PM

                                                What a difference a week makes! I was at Calareso's again today since I have a gig distributing the Cape Ann Fresh Catch fish shares to subscribers in Reading, at Calareso's. I mentioned that last week's corn was not really ready. They told me last week was the first "local" corn of the season - it's coming from Hadley, MA - and agreed that they'd jumped the gun but assured me today's corn was good. And it sure is! Wish I'd bought more than 3 ears.

                                            2. re: catsmeow
                                              treb RE: catsmeow Jul 9, 2014 12:14 PM

                                              Probably from Western MA.

                                            3. p
                                              phatchris RE: london123 Jul 9, 2014 12:08 PM

                                              Utopia farm in Manchester has some from Western Mass per their Facebook page.

                                              1. b
                                                bear RE: london123 Jul 10, 2014 12:01 PM

                                                Idylwilde Farm in Acton had Connecticut corn today. It didn't fit into my dinner plans so I didn't try it, but it looked mature and not underdeveloped.

                                                1. b
                                                  bear RE: london123 Jul 12, 2014 06:25 AM

                                                  Russo's had "native corn" but after asking a couple of different people I wasn't able to find out the source. One woman said it was probably from Western Mass. but she couldn't be sure.
                                                  The corn looked to be butter and sugar. It was pretty tasty and tender although not super sweet. $3.98/dozen.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: bear
                                                    smtucker RE: bear Jul 12, 2014 06:56 AM

                                                    Union Square today, both Nicewicz farm and the Hmong farmers were back! Nicewitz had corn picked this morning at $.70@. They also had some lovely apricots and blueberries. The Hmongs had a beautiful assortment of herbs and greens along with pumpkin blossoms. Their herbs are the most flavorful.

                                                    We will eat the corn tonight an I will report back.

                                                    1. re: smtucker
                                                      Madrid RE: smtucker Jul 12, 2014 09:54 AM

                                                      I left home as soon as I read your update....thanks for it....and I was too late for blueberries, raspberries, and corn. I did find some sorrel at Kimball fruit and it is great to have the Hmong farmers back. I will have to be much earlier next week.

                                                      1. re: smtucker
                                                        smtucker RE: smtucker Jul 12, 2014 05:22 PM

                                                        It was a very valid example of corn! Didn't taste green. The kernels were developed. The corn will get better before long, but this was a nice start to the corn season.

                                                    2. c
                                                      catsmeow RE: london123 Jul 13, 2014 03:08 PM

                                                      I spent the weekend in CT and stopped at a roadside farm stand that, over the years, I've frequented several times. They had corn that they said was theirs. I thought it was strange because the fields that I saw as I was driving around still looked like they had at least a few weeks to go. The ears looked good, so I bought a few despite my doubts. I'm in the midst of eating one and it's delicious! "Native" corn is here(or 1 1/2 hrs south of here)!

                                                      1. h
                                                        hargau RE: london123 Jul 13, 2014 04:14 PM

                                                        I got some local corn today at a stand in Leominster (near the old weathervane spot) and it was quite good.

                                                        1. Chris VR RE: london123 Jul 15, 2014 10:35 AM

                                                          My parents brought some back from Long Island that they claimed was locally grown. Not great... some ears were so starchy and bland they weren't worth eating, but a couple of the ears were on the good side. A taste of things to come!

                                                          1. t
                                                            treb RE: london123 Jul 15, 2014 11:53 AM

                                                            Barker's Farm in N. Andover has their corn sigh up. That's their own corn fresh picked.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: treb
                                                              srgoodman RE: treb Jul 15, 2014 01:35 PM

                                                              Marini's in Ipswich also has their corn sign up, though I haven't gotten over to check it out yet.

                                                            2. Science Chick RE: london123 Jul 15, 2014 02:54 PM

                                                              Wagon Wheel has their "Native Corn" sign up. Stopped by to look....it's from CT

                                                              1. Chris VR RE: london123 Jul 16, 2014 06:27 AM

                                                                Stillman's was selling it at Lexington Farmer's Market, and it's theirs. The flavor was great, nice and sweet, but the texture wasn't fantastic, a bit on the mushy side.

                                                                1. s
                                                                  Splendid Spatula RE: london123 Jul 16, 2014 09:18 AM

                                                                  Saw some at the Harvard farmer's market yesterday, two farms had it

                                                                  1. z
                                                                    zackly RE: london123 Jul 16, 2014 09:49 AM

                                                                    I'm sure this farm is selling local corn.
                                                                    I sometimes make the 20 minute drive just to get this corn. they pick it several times a day. It is always very sweet & tender.

                                                                    1. c
                                                                      Citytradewinds RE: london123 Jul 16, 2014 03:27 PM

                                                                      Mainstone Farm in Wayland started picking theirs yesterday. Had some tonight. Delicious!

                                                                      1. m
                                                                        Madrid RE: london123 Jul 20, 2014 04:36 PM

                                                                        Bought some today at the Charles Hotel market.....very disappointing. Very starchy, didn't taste like corn at all.

                                                                        no more early corn for me. we only got 2 ears and ending up throwing most of it out. I wish they wouldn't feel pressured to pick it before it's ready.

                                                                        1. c
                                                                          Capeannetoo RE: london123 Jul 20, 2014 04:47 PM

                                                                          Lattof Farm Stand RTE 127 Rockport. Their corn 65 cents a piece. Developed cobs , good sized kernels, sweet and toothsome..and this is just the beginning ! Got 6 all perfect.

                                                                          1. h
                                                                            hargau RE: london123 Jul 20, 2014 06:07 PM

                                                                            I got some today again, very sweet, tender kernels that pop in your mouth. From Harpers Farm in Lancaster. http://www.harpersfarm.com/default.html

                                                                            1. StriperGuy RE: london123 Jul 21, 2014 07:10 AM

                                                                              Ate some of Verril's very first corn of the year. Still a bit young, but VERY tasty.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                maxevan RE: StriperGuy Jul 21, 2014 05:39 PM

                                                                                Had some today. Hit or miss on 6 ears...most sweet 1 or two not that sweet. I still ate them. :)

                                                                              2. z
                                                                                zackly RE: london123 Jul 21, 2014 01:54 PM

                                                                                Here's a strange one. I've now twice bought corn from Stew Leonard's in Norwalk CT. It is advertised as local corn and the corn sacks do have a name on them of a farm on Long island, NY. The corn looked beautiful inside and out and freshly harvested with tight moist husks and golden silk. When I cooked it, it wasn't sweet. I steamed it once and roasted it the second time. Could this be because it is a early season variety? The ears were fairly large.

                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                1. re: zackly
                                                                                  Science Chick RE: zackly Jul 21, 2014 02:10 PM

                                                                                  I am rarely disappointed and here's why:
                                                                                  Whenever I buy corn, I pull back the top of the husk enough to see the top of the ear, and press on a kernel until it pops. If it sprays (i.e. the kernels were very plump), it's a good read on freshness. Then I taste the juice from the pop. If it is reasonably sweet, I buy (and then others from the same lot...I don't do this to every ear!). If either 1) it doesn't spray when popped or 2) it isn't sweet, then I don't buy it. I replace the ear on the pile so it is obvious that it was messed with, so no one else will buy that ear. Works great....rarely get flavorless corn with this test.

                                                                                  1. re: Science Chick
                                                                                    zackly RE: Science Chick Jul 21, 2014 02:17 PM

                                                                                    I do this same test with supermarket corn (tasting for sweetness) because that corn has been in the cold chain for many days. I was remiss not doing it on this local corn because it looked so beautiful. Shame on me, I won't make that mistake again!

                                                                                    1. re: zackly
                                                                                      Science Chick RE: zackly Jul 21, 2014 02:32 PM

                                                                                      I do it at farms too....just cause it's fresh, doesn't mean it tastes good! ;)

                                                                                      1. re: Science Chick
                                                                                        zackly RE: Science Chick Jul 21, 2014 02:41 PM

                                                                                        I learned that lesson this weekend!

                                                                                        1. re: zackly
                                                                                          Science Chick RE: zackly Jul 21, 2014 02:56 PM

                                                                                          Always disappointing to be excited for corn-time and then have it suck wind!! :(

                                                                                    2. re: Science Chick
                                                                                      StriperGuy RE: Science Chick Jul 22, 2014 06:30 AM

                                                                                      When you ruin an ear of corn you should buy it some folks actually sit there and rip through an entire pile keeping some and discarding others not fair to the farm not fair to the supermarket.

                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                        hargau RE: StriperGuy Jul 22, 2014 06:56 AM

                                                                                        i agree. I dont even peel the corn back. I will look at one someone else has already peeled and left and then grab 6 that are not yet opened/ruined by others. If i get a few small kernels at the end or a bug or brown or something i just cut that portion off before cooking.. I am really not too worried about 1/10th of a 50 cent ear of corn. I figure there is corn for sale and i am either going to buy it or not, i am not going to drive around looking for the best corn.

                                                                                        1. re: hargau
                                                                                          zackly RE: hargau Jul 22, 2014 07:07 AM

                                                                                          I'm with Science Chick on this one.
                                                                                          I don't consider stripping back corn or sampling a kernel to taste for sweetness improper. It's a good shopping practice and the cost of doing business that sellers build into the price as they do waste corn that does not sell in a day or two. Just like when a bag of grapes or cherries is left open in the bin I sample one without guilt because if they're good, they've sold me.

                                                                                          1. re: zackly
                                                                                            hargau RE: zackly Jul 22, 2014 07:39 AM

                                                                                            I guess everyone is different.. I also dont sample ice cream flavors even though places offer them.. I feel if something sounds interesting enough to try its worth the risk of $3.50 to try it. If i dont like it, i dont get it again.. At least that doesnt ruin a product for others though.. Even though i dont peel back corn, i also dont buy the ones people abandon as they tend to dry out quick once stripped... Yet when i look at them 9 out of 10 times i cant even tell why someone peeled it back and abandoned it in the 1st place. I think some people only want ones that have fully developed kernels all the way to the very tip.. I dont mind 3/4" of undeveloped kernels

                                                                                            1. re: hargau
                                                                                              Science Chick RE: hargau Jul 22, 2014 08:26 AM

                                                                                              I guess I feel differently about being disappointed by a dish of ice cream, and having my dinner ruined by bad corn. As a vegetarian, sometimes summer meals revolve around corn!

                                                                                        2. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                          Science Chick RE: StriperGuy Jul 22, 2014 07:47 AM

                                                                                          I was waiting for backlash on this one..... :0

                                                                                          Striper...I do not rip through an entire pile! I just test one ear in a given lot. My philosophy is that if a market is carrying old corn, that is their responsibility. If there is a brown spot or worm, I still buy it and cut off the end at home.

                                                                                          Should I buy a bruised peach if I've picked it up and looked at it? What about fish that I smell before buying and is not fresh enough for me? Julia Child used to recommend when buy pre-packed fish (on styrofoam trays/plastic wrap) poking a hole in the plastic and smelling. If not fresh, leave it and it is the store's responsibility!

                                                                                          1. re: Science Chick
                                                                                            hargau RE: Science Chick Jul 22, 2014 07:56 AM

                                                                                            She was probably drunk when she said that! :)
                                                                                            Who would buy prepackaged fish anyway?
                                                                                            picking up a peach doesnt ruin it for others.

                                                                                            1. re: hargau
                                                                                              hargau RE: hargau Jul 22, 2014 08:05 AM

                                                                                              On a larger, more global scale. One persons unacceptable is fine for another. I think this is part of why our food is full of artificial dyes/additives/gmo/waxes/etc to give a perception of better appearance/higher quality. While you maybe ok with a worm or a brown kernel or undeveloped ones on the end, there are plenty who are NOT ok with those things and will peel back and leave corn otherwise fine for you or me to waste now. Thus encouraging the farmer next year to use more crap to make the corn look better without those "defects" and to get higher yields.. ( i think this is also why many on here will complain about produce "quality" at many ethnic markets as i think they perhaps have a different standard)

                                                                                              I think having owned and worked in retail all my life i am more sensitive to what is the "stores problem"... Like some feel its the stores problem if they are in the cereal aisle and decide they no longer want their pack of fish or hamburger they picked and then leave it next to the fruit loops. Store problem, why they have employees.. i see it all the time..

                                                                                              1. re: hargau
                                                                                                Science Chick RE: hargau Jul 22, 2014 08:27 AM


                                                                                              2. re: hargau
                                                                                                Science Chick RE: hargau Jul 22, 2014 08:27 AM

                                                                                                There are those that espouse that once you touch something with your bare hands you should buy it (not me, though!!)!

                                                                                                1. re: Science Chick
                                                                                                  hargau RE: Science Chick Jul 22, 2014 08:31 AM

                                                                                                  ohh i have not heard of that one. I figure you should wash it anyway!

                                                                                      Show Hidden Posts